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Wii-Party Wii Review

12/11/2010 Family Teen Gamer Review
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Wii-Party Nintendo Wii


Nintendo Wii



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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Gamer (Wii)
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Scripted Gamer (Wii)
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Wii-Party revels in its miniature form as it miraculously transforms Nintendo's curtailed casual gaming into something intentional and jubilant.

Like a cash strapped student in the union bar, Nintendo are the masters at nursing their assets. Although, of course, they have become so good at this they've actually made a tonne of money.

This is the ugly underbelly of big business gaming, and not the most endearing aspect of the casual gaming world. Take a simple idea and rather than developing it into fantasy realms and hardcore game play, it is instead simplified and limited to ensure everyone can enjoy it.

Wii-Play and Wii-Sports are typical of this approach. Between them they contain a strong eight or nine ideas that on other platforms could have become experiences in their own right. On the Wii though, they are hobbled - forever to remain the domain of grandma's and little kids.

There are green shoots of Nintendo first party games starting to offer more depth though. Wii-Sports Resort took those seeds of genius from the launch titles and created a series of games that were not only simple to play, but also had considerable depth. I'll still play Table Tennis with my mates of an evening, almost a year after we first discovered it.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Wii-Party, whether this would be a return to the simplification addicted days of the Wii's launch or if it would continue the more innovative and expansive Nintendo games of recent years.

Wii-Party revels in its Warioware like simplicity - sure it's more earnest than kooky but somehow it gets away with it.

Perhaps a good sign, there is simply so much on offer here that it took me days to even see the wood from the trees. The more I played the more I was intrigued though - there is a real sense of fun and progression to the experience as a whole, but at the same time it's the simplest game I've played for years.

Rather than returning to anything like in-depth game play, Wii-Party revels in its Warioware like simplicity - sure it's more earnest than kooky but somehow it gets away with it. Where Wii-Play and Wii-Sports didn't really cut it for a serious gamer, Wii-Party is perfect for groups of obsessive competitive males (like me).

I seem to have got quite addicted to the bite sized challenges on offer. Sure there are board games, co-op games and party games but it's the minigames themselves - rather than these novel groupings - that really clicked.

In free play mode you can simply select a whole bunch of these minigames and then play through them one after the other. This turns what is elsewhere a family focused game into an experience much more like Warioware.

Each of the games is a study in miniaturisation that takes an existing videogame meme and transforms it into a few minutes of perfection. Ironically, even those Wii-Sports and Wii-Play games I never really 'got' get the treatment here, but by revelling in brevity Wii-Party feels intentionally snappy rather than curtailed.

Many will deride Wii-Party for not attending to their hardcore gaming desires.

The golf game for instance, pours all that Wii-Sports golfing experience into a chipping challenge that last just a minute. In those 60 seconds you have a knife edge of power and precision that leans as heavily on skill as it does on reactions or luck. Ingenious.

Although many of my friends balked at the thought of gathering to play Wii games again - the wounds still sore from the drop off of those launch titles - when I did get them together we had a great time. Add some beverages and snacks and you have the perfect evening pastime, and - dare I say it - Party game.

Many will deride Wii-Party for not attending to their hardcore gaming desires. It's not got the cool of Warioware or the depth of Wii-Sports Resort and certainly none of the brand kudos that comes from the violence and bravado of Medal of Honour or Call of Duty. But what it does have it wears on its sleeve - hundreds of hand crafted miniature challenges - and that's what I keep coming back for.

Written by Rowan Brown

You can support Rowan by buying Wii-Party

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Rowan Brown writes the Teen Gamer column.

"I write about my favourite games from a younger person's perspective. It's often surprising how different this ends up to other more grown up reviews."

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